Fig Tree Logo

Sounding Board

Mayor pledges, bishop leads Pride Parade, speakers share value


On May 2, the Spokane Alliance gathered more than 200 people from churches, unions and nonprofits to expand affordable housing in Spokane. After five years of listening and research on the need for a path to build more housing, a bill  passed the State Legislature, establishing one-tenth of a cent sales tax to build affordable housing, with an option for cities and other locales to adopt it as their own.

Recently the Spokane Alliance had asked the City of Spokane to use this tax, which had accumulated $11.5 million in two years. Previously the funds were used to fill budget gaps.

On May 2, Mayor Lisa Brown and City Council pledged to the Spokane Alliance Housing Equity Action Research Team (HEART) to use the HB-1590 funds for the original purpose—building housing—and invite proposals during May. She also renamed the fund HEART.

Cathy Gunderson
Spokane Alliance


On May 16, I received a phone call about destruction of the Pride crosswalk mural in Spokane and a request that I participate in a press conference the next day. I was happy to do this. At the press conference, I said that, as a follower of Jesus, I know that love wins, and evil will always try to oppose love. So we must stand together in love against acts of hate and violence. I said the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane would match donations to repaint the mural and wrote a check.

When acts of violence and destruction are targeted toward any community, we call it hate. When hate shows up, love must show up over and over and over again. When the Church shows up in concrete acts of love, we offer Jesus to a hurting world.

I was struck by how many people were pleased and surprised by my offering this concrete act of love and matching donations. The Church does not always show up with concrete acts of love. At times, parts of the wider Church participate in discrimination. Our Episcopal Church has not always been a place of inclusion. I am glad we now are and can be a place where every person can find a place to belong and find love.

One surprising, delightful outcome is recognition by Spokane Pride: The Episcopal Diocese of Spokane will be Grand Marshall for the Pride parade on June 8.

I am proud to represent our diocese and invite those who desire to join the parade to do so as part of our diocesan contingent. I am delighted that many congregations participate in local Pride events.

To respect the dignity of every human being is one of our baptismal vows. To seek and serve Christ in all persons is another. When we show up in concrete acts of love, we are living our baptism. Let us all commit to living our baptism in concrete acts of love.

Bishop Gretchen Rehberg
Episcopal Diocese of Spokane


Upper River United Tribes connects with Fig Tree editor Mary Stamp because she knows how to spread the word. It's a huge asset. Stories are important to our community, because the river is about us, not us vs. them. It's about anyone who recreates or uses the resources of the river. It's up to us to correct the historic wrongs and provide opportunities that were taken from our generation and future generations.

The Fig Tree tells stories that connect communities and tell of commonalities people share. It invites people to work together in looking for answers.

DR Michel
Upper Columbia United Tribes


As a student intern, I have written and edited for The Fig Tree to expand my skills and grow as a writer and journalist. I hope to do religion reporting after I graduate from Whitworth University with a degree in communications and peace studies.

I appreciate The Fig Tree's approach. They don't just point out problems or conflict that is happening in Spokane and the larger community but also focus on the idea of peace or solutions journalism. This journalism offers some solutions. It helps the reader understand a full picture.

Emma Maple
Whitworth editorial intern



I recently wrote a book called, What Faith is Not. After reading some recent issues of The Fig Tree, I decided I need to have a chapter on "What Faith Is."

Mitch Finley-Author



In my ministry with couples and families, it's easy to feel I'm in the woods acting alone. It's good to know many people are doing similar work. The Fig Tree gives me a way to virtually visit many churches and nonprofits to find information I would otherwise not know.

When there's a story about somebody I know, I learn more than I knew before about who that person is and what they do. It helps me know that what I am doing in faith makes a difference and is part of a larger picture.

Kathy Finley - Spiritual director. counselor and author


I can't take care of all the problems in the world, but I can do something. The Fig Tree shows us that God has many people doing what needs to be done in this world to give people hope. It helps us see how many people are trying to bring shalom to the whole community. I'm not the only one. It gives me hope to know that people are trying to take care of the injustices and things bringing strife to people's lives. We're called to be God's servants. There's plenty of work to do and plenty of ways to get involved.

Marilynne Mueller - Shalom United Church of Christ/Mennonite


The Fig Tree does a remarkable job of communication—being a bridge—with inspirational stories. It has been a gift to the religious communities here in the Inland Northwest as it serves the people and fosters a sense of community that builds humanity. The Fig Tree produces fruit. It has touched many people and religious communities.

Bishop Emeritus William Skylstad

Catholic Diocese of Spokane

Copyright@ The Fig Tree, June 2024